ST. LOUIS (AP) — Colin Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree in the third quarter, rallying the San Francisco 49ers to a 31-17 win against the St. Louis Rams entering the fourth quarter Monday night.
Kaepernick found Boldin zipping across the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass, capping a go-ahead 80-yard drive to start the second half. As the Niners were taking the lead, several fans in the upper deck unfurled a large banner above the videoboard on the opposite end of the stadium as part of ongoing protests about the Michael Brown shooting in suburban Ferguson in August.
San Francisco then added to its lead when Kaepernick connected with Crabtree for a 32-yard score with 13 seconds left in the third. Kaepernick already had 301 yards passing without an interception.
St. Louis got off to a fast start before fizzling out for the second straight home game. Benny Cunningham scored on a 1-yard run and Lance Kendricks had a 22-yard touchdown reception in the first half, but the Rams followed with five straight punts — with only a kneeldown to end the first half in between.
The 49ers came out sluggish and mistake-prone, but turned it around when Kaepernick found Brandon Lloyd streaking past Janoris Jenkins and down the left sideline for an 80-yard touchdown with 14 seconds left in the first half. It was Lloyd’s longest catch since 2005 in his first stint with San Francisco.
The 49ers have won six in a row on Monday night, all by double digits, and 12 of their last 13 October games.
The Rams invited Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and the rest of the 1999 Super Bowl championship team back for a pregame celebration and to be honored at halftime, sprinkling in highlights from that season on the big screen during timeouts. St. Louis also wore throwback uniforms with royal blue and bright yellow for the occasion, looking back at a better time — before the current string of nine straight years without a playoff berth.
Cunningham’s TD capped an 80-yard drive on the first possession of the game. Austin Davis marched the Rams down the field, completing all four of his passes for 56 yards — including a season-long 39-yard grab for Jared Cook.
Backup center Tim Barnes came in to give St. Louis an extra offensive lineman, and Cunningham followed him and tight end Cory Harkey before stretching across the goal line for the touchdown.
The Rams tacked on another score after safety Rodney McLeod popped the ball free from tight end Vance McDonald after a 21-yard pickup. James Laurinaitis scooped up the loose ball and returned it 17 yards to set up Kendricks’ touchdown catch.
In their previous home game, the Rams jumped to a quick 21-0 lead on Dallas before losing 34-31.
St. Louis got the first noteworthy contributions this season from two of its draft picks, former Auburn teammates Greg Robinson and Tre Mason. Robinson, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, made his first career start, moving in at left guard while Rodger Saffold moved to the right side.
Mason, a third-round pick, picked up 24 yards on his first career carry, going right up the middle on the first play after McDonald’s fumble. Davis found Kendricks open in the left side of the end zone three plays later for a 14-0 lead in the final minute of the first quarter.
All-Pro tight end Vernon Davis was back for the 49ers after missing last week — and two of the last three games — with a back injury. Kaepernick tried to target him on the team’s first offensive play but nearly threw an interception when cornerback E.J. Gaines sped in front of Davis on a slant route. Davis also dropped a pass that hit him in the chest in the second quarter but had two catches for 13 yards through three quarters.
The Niners took advantage of Johnny Hekker’s 13-yard punt to get on the board in the second quarter. Phil Dawson, who was 9 for 9 in the Niners’ last two games, hit on a 54-yard field goal to move to 4 for 4 from at least 50 yards this season.
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